10 Things You Might Not Know About Davos
- The traffic is legendary.
- No one stays in Davos unless you are one of the exclusive 3000 invited guests. Everyone else scrambles to find accommodation in surrounding towns and resorts. Some people commute in from Zurich every day on the train which is a two-hour journey. We stayed in a very pretty Alpine lodge some 90 minutes out of town. And when I say out of town I mean up the mountain. Our group lead had hired a minivan with drivers. Our Davos bus left each morning down the mountain into town on terrifying roads in a route that bonded us all when we survived each journey. In our resort our views were spectacular and we overlooked a quiet ski lift. While we were there for the conference, other guests were there skiing, and we’d look at them enviously as they sailed off each morning.
- Actually, amend that last point. Many people do go skiing while at Davos. The only shops that resist corporate refurbishment are ski and boot hire shops. Amongst all the traffic and the cars are many skiers heading out for the day.
- Boots – wear boots. The pavements are covered in snow. It is freezing – down to minus 15C at night – and it is a hilly town. There are stories every year of falls and broken bones. In fact, I would go one further: invest in crampons. These are like slippers that go over your shoes and provide some traction in the snowy sidewalks. Most people wear boots inside events too unless you are uber-organized and carry your loofahs/heels in a bag. A word of caution: crampons are super on the sidewalk but inside on tiles they are the very devil. Either take them off or walk very slowly. Some restaurants have signs saying no spikes allowed.
- The very best marketing prize goes this year to Zurich. They set up their corporate headquarters in Davos giving out brightly colored blue woolly hats. Our first morning walking the promenade saw lots of people wearing them. I had huge
- Security. Given the number of important officials, politicians, and celebrities around, the security is very tight. Lots of armed police and checkpoints in and out of the town. You have to carry your passport with you at all times. Then there is the issue of gaining security passes to go into the main hotels. Let me just say it is very complex and quite expensive. Ask me again if you want to know how to do it but for first-timers it is another thing to drive you crazy.
- Official news. Most of the hoi polloi do not get anywhere near the headline guests. It is better to watch the news each night to catch up on the events and speeches. Having said that, one night while we were waiting outside a hotel for our Group Van to bring us home, former UK prime minister, Tony Blair walked within one foot of me as he gained his official car.
- The main summit has many events but the fringe summit has zillions.
- The final thing I learned is that to really get the best out of Davos 2021 you need to start planning now. It is not meant for the casual observer. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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